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68                                       VERDICT  OX
The only thing ^vhich you must believe, with all your heart arid
soul, is the law of caste." You must believe that sixty million of
your fellow men are * untouchable/ You must believe that you
are polluted if you eat certain foods and damned if you drink
with certain people. Caste is the sheet anchor of the Hindu ship,
which might otherwise have dashed itself to pieces on the rocks
of sterner and more solid faiths. It seems hardly necessary to
observe that it is the precise negation of democracy, for which the
Hindus clamour so loudly*
Xo Church, no Pope, no Bible. But most important of all,
no History.
Hinduism is the only great world religion which has absolutely
nd'^ffisterieal basis whatsoever. There are many historians who
deny the divinity of Christ, but only a very few have ventured to
suggest that He did not at least exist. There is an equally imposing
array of historical evidence for the existence of Mahomet and, to
a lesser degree, of Buddha.
But the Hindu pantheon is stocked only with the creatures of
dream and delusion; we shall search in vain for the figure of a
prophet who taught in the simple shape of man.1 Here, lurking
in the shadows, is Ganesh, with his elephant's head and his
mouse's chariot; and here is Krishna, playing his flute with five
arms—or is it seven ? Here is the dreadful face of Shiva the
destroyer, and the strange and twisted bodies of Indra and
Varuna, the gods of rain and water. Such are the Hindu gods.
It is no concern of ours to discuss them as objects of worship.
However, it is our concern to point out that they have no historical
authority, because this complete lack of factual background is the
reason for Hinduism's intangibility, fluidity, and elusiveness.
1 We shall search in Tain, that is to say, for any historical personage responsible
for giving permanent shape to the original body of doctrine, or even for any figure
—(such as St. Paul)—who interpreted the divine revelation. Needless to say, there
have been innumerable seers and commentators, but these, by the very nature of
Hinduism, are independent spiritual explorers, each ploughing a lone furrow.
the need for Grace and catfts him most tragically on his own pitiful resources. At
best it lends to morbid introspection, at worst to gross indulgence ; the average man
aa not a casket of Imprisoned splendour1 but of base and selfish instinct. Neverthe-
less, the Gtte, if read in the right spirit, cannot fail to be a source of permanent
inspiration. The best translation is Annie Beasant's. Of the many commentaries
the most impressive I have read is The Yoga of the Bhagavat Gita, by Sri
:Pr*ra (Watkms, Charing Cross Road, London. W.C. 2).